Land Grabbing a new slavery in 21st century Uganda.
Military armed forceful land survey in Acholi land get arm amputated at that youthful age. PHOTO CREDIT: Jomeo Richard
On the Thursday the 10th/08/2017, security arrested Hon. Odonga Otto for taking part in a massive demonstration to block Honorable minister Amongin from surveying citizens land with the intention to give off to investors.Amongin while addressing activists confessed that they have arrested Hon Odonga Otto and clearly said that she will not reveal his where about.
The political elites who are facilitating the land grabs in Uganda want everyone to believe it is a development.
The situation is brewing out of control in the Albertine graben of Uganda where Oil and gas is discovered on large deposit.
There are so many prominent people who have been reported to have been engaged in land grabbing and forceful eviction of local people from their own land.
These include Edgar Agaba, the former Head of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) who allegedly acquired and processed a land title for communally-owned land in Kiryamboga village, Buseruka Sub County, Hoima district. The report claims that Agaba owns Bugahya Block 5 Plot 33, FRV 551 Folio 25 measuring 33 hectares. Another name that comes up in the report is Alfred Kiiza, the former Chief Administrative Officer of Hoima district, who allegedly irregularly acquired a chunk of land located at Bugahya Block 5 Plot 33 RFV 513 Folio 12 measuring 27 hectares. Also mentioned is Edward Asiimwe, the current secretary of Hoima District Land Board, who is said to own 41 acres of land in the same village.
The Report argues that in processing the titles, the named individuals didn’t notify the customary tenants. “Failure to notify Kiryamboga residents of the land titling signals a failure to comply with the land that Hoima District Land Board is mandated to uphold,” the report reads. “This evidence indicates that prominent individuals, including past and current Hoima District personnel, have engaged in an explicit and egregious oil influenced land grab in Kiryamboga, Hoima district.”
However, other than naming the individuals and their alleged failure to notify the residents, the Report doesn’t explain any other procedural irregularities that were committed.
Land grabbing is slavery of its kind, traditionally , slavery were sold to foreigners , however, in the 21st century Uganda’s slavery, land is sacrificed and local ownership is lost along with human sovereignty.
The community in the Albertine graben lack sufficient mechanisms to protect their rights and take care of their interests, livelihoods,and welfare .Their rights is undermined by insecure local land rights policy, bureaucracy in land titling and registration , and also the legislative gaps and other factors which undermine the position of local people to defend their rights against multinational companies working closely with the state agents to displace the local citizens from their own land.
The situation is getting worst here.The people are becoming slaves in their own country.
Information’s reaching The Albertine Watch Dog indicates that the top leadership are in advance stage to initiate massive scale land grabbing with the intention of selling them to the global and domestic land thieves .This is likely to displace and scatter the whole communities in the Albertine graben, particularly those in Bullisa, Hoima, Amuru, Kitgum and Nwoya districts among others.
In the Albertine region where large deposits of crude oil were recently discovered, many communities have already transferred their land rights to powerful people, both Ugandans and foreigners.
In August 2014, 1250 people (225 families ) of Rwamutonga in Bugamabe sub county in Hoima district were forcefully evicted by Robert Basingaraho and Joshua Tibagwa to pave way for establishment of an Oil waste plant .Initially, Tibagwa only had 400 hectares of land but he applied for 750 hectares thereby taking in people’s land by force.
In February 2015, late Rwakiswaza evicted about 5000 people of Kijayo in Kizirafumbi sub county in Hoima district.He used wrong land title to illegally evict people.The title which he used to evict the people of Kijayo was for Kitana growers an association based in Kigorobya sub county .
Hoima district local government officials connived with Barlets Investments PTYLTD and they took part of the land in Ruhunga for establishing stone quarrying in the area. This action affected the residence of Kabale, and Ruhunga in Buseruka sub county in Hoima district respectively.
The district land board of Hoima district have issued illegal land tittle for gazetted areas of Kandanda and Ngobye Central Forest Reserve in Kyabigambire sub county in Hoima district.
The Bunyoro Kitara Kingndom leased out Muhangaizima Block in Bugoma central Forest Reserve to Indian investors to grow sugar cane .This led to eviction of thousands of local in Kabwoya and Kyangwali sub counties.
Alenyo and Company advocates has incited people of Bujawe Central Forest Reserve ,Buseruka,Kitoba,Bugambe and Kigorobya sub counties to acquire land in the Central Forest Reserve of Bujawe.
There is also alleged fraudulent acquisition of 6 land tittles by the Hoima district officials in Kiryambuga .This involved illegal issuing of land titles by the district land boards to the private investors.
A total of 990 hectares encompassing 5 villages in Kizirafumbi and Kabwoya sub counties (the villages includes Ikoba, and Kajoga) have been acquired fraudulently through illegal feck land tittles issued by the Hoima district land boards to Kabango farmers in Kabwoya sub county.
Bunyoro Kitara Reparation Agency- BUKTAREPA, a local Civil Society Organization closely associated to Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, threatened the district land board of Hoima district not to issue land tittles to non Banyoro tribe in the region. BUKTAREPA claims that the land in Bunyoro belongs to indigenous Banyoro only. The actions of BUKTAREPA is being investigated because this may jeorpadise security and development in the Albertine graben
Sustainable Development is not a reality without due consideration of human rights and land rights .land is important to people identity, livelihoods and food security. It is also vital to sustainability –be it economic, cultural or social, because land form central basis of sustainable development .However, the policies being implemented by Ugandan government today seem to have a primary goal to stifle human rights and increase land grabbing in the Albertine region. The policy aims to speed the quest to easily grabs people’s land without due consideration of Human rights.
Multinational companies are taking advantages of unclear legal frameworks and community high level of ignorance to easily access millions of hectares of land with the backing of state and influential politicians and private individuals. After getting this land, they are exempted from paying tax, repatriation of profits and there are no export restrictions and other subsidies in exchange of the kickbacks they offer.
Museveni’s government is enabling foreign firms to acquire large areas of natural forests and farm land under the pretext of development and employment.
BIDCO Uganda Limited a subsidiary of BIDCO Kenya, a Malaysian company acquired over 30,000 hectares of natural forest land in kalangala islands on Lake Victoria to establish palm oil plantation with backing from World Bank.
The project promised jobs to local youth but the jobs have not come. It promised tarmac roads, electricity and health centers but these have not been put in place as promised .Right now the BIDCO project is causing great risk to environment around Lake Victoria in Uganda. It has caused pollution, population displacement, water pollution and fisheries due to chemical fertilizers; there is dwindling of forest on public land and climate change effects.
Madhavani Group of Companies ( an Indian Companies) with backing of government has recently been given over 40,000 hectares of communal land in northern Uganda to establish a sugar cane plantation and build a sugar factory .The Albertine Watch Dog has learnt that government and Madhavani have entered in secrets deals with some foreigners to grow sugar cane agro-fuels .The affected communities backed up by the local area politicians and civil society activists , resisted the land grabs and have since dragged the company to courts.